China survive red card to edge past Haiti amid penalty drama


How China's Wang Shuang deals with the expectations of a nation

Once voted the best women's player on the Asian continent, China's Wang Shuang is no stranger to intense pressure.

Wang Shuang kept China's Women's World Cup campaign alive by converting a penalty in Friday's 1-0 win over Haiti at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, with the Asian side showing great resolve to claim victory despite being a player short.

The Steel Roses, who have three points from two games in Group D, face England on Tuesday. Haiti, who had two late penalty claims turned down, have no points after two defeats but can also progress if they beat Denmark on the same day and other results go in their favour.

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China dominated possession from kick off and almost went ahead in spectacular fashion in the 16th minute when Lou Jiahui managed to direct an acrobatic effort at goal, but the shot was tame and easily saved by Haiti goalkeeper Kerly Theus.

However, the momentum quickly shifted when Zhang Rui was shown a straight red card in the 29th minute for a reckless tackle on Sherly Jeudy.

The Caribbean side made the most of their advantage, having a goal disallowed for offside just before halftime, but China defended resolutely to guard themselves from relentless waves of attacks.

Haiti substitute Melchie Dumornay then drew an excellent save from Zhu Yu with a side-footed shot early in the second half, but it was China who finally broke the deadlock, after Zhang Linyan was clumsily brought down by Ruthny Mathurin.

Substitute Wang, the 2018 Asian Women's Footballer of the Year, stepped up to convert the resulting penalty in the 74th minute and give her side the advantage.

Haiti pushed hard in search of an equaliser and had two penalty claims denied in a frantic closing spell, but China held on for the victory.